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Building Reputation in Constitutional Courts: Party and Judicial Politics

38 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2011 Last revised: 14 Jul 2011

Nuno M. Garoupa

Texas A&M University School of Law; Catholic University of Portugal (UCP) - Católica Global School of Law

Tom Ginsburg

University of Chicago Law School

Date Written: February 1, 2011

Abstract

This paper explains how specialized constitutional courts navigate between the demands of two different external audiences, the political and the judicial. The political audience expects constitutional court judges to respond to political pressures and to vote ideologically. Such voting, however, might undermine the constitutional court’s ability to influence the judicial audience, which necessarily views cases as apolitical in character. We argue that the need to achieve supremacy over other higher courts constrains the ability of constitutional judges to pursue ideological goals. We examine patterns of consensus and fragmentation to demonstrate our proposition. We find empirical evidence that the existence of conflict between supreme and constitutional courts is positively related to the stability of court majorities.

Suggested Citation

Garoupa, Nuno M. and Ginsburg, Tom, Building Reputation in Constitutional Courts: Party and Judicial Politics (February 1, 2011). Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, 2012; Illinois Program in Law, Behavior and Social Science Paper No. LBSS11-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1800260

Nuno M. Garoupa (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX 76102
United States

Catholic University of Portugal (UCP) - Católica Global School of Law ( email )

Lisboa
Portugal

Tom Ginsburg

University of Chicago Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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